Phil Miles [LONDON]

How did you become a volunteer at RAF London?

I’m local from Barnet and therefore have been lucky enough to visit the Museum regularly over the years. So when, personal circumstance determined I had some spare time available, volunteering was suggested. It made sense to apply as the Heritage or Museum Sector is an area I would like to pursue further and gain experience in, coupled with my fascination of aircraft, so I submitted my CV online. Next stage was to have a meeting with Rachel Ball, the Volunteering Manager, to assess my skills; what I could offer the museum and the position in the Development Team she suggested sounded a good fit.

What do the Development Team at the Museum do?

Essentially the team fundraise, working with all type of donors such as Charitable Trusts and Corporations to support the necessary Museum transformation work relating to the 2018 Centenary campaign. The team work closely with other departments in the delivery of events such as the Battle of Britain 75 Year Anniversary Ball last September at RAF Northolt which I had the privilege to attend and work at; and the recent “Love is in the Air” exclusive event in February which proved a great success with the members who attended.

What is your role within the team?

I work one day per week and part of my role is administrative, supporting the Donor Relations Executive. I help to process new memberships, renewals of memberships and small donations. I also have also conducted research into the Membership Scheme. This involved me engaging with the public through faceto-face questionnaires and as well as through focus groups where I have met several members. I have also attended external forums hosted by other museums that have covered a wide range of fundraising topics.

What aspects do you enjoy most about volunteering at the Museum? I’d say the variety, probably as a result of the specific department I’m in which interfaces with many internal and external groups. Primarily my work consists of data manipulation on spreadsheets or analysing data on the membership database. However during the day I can lend my hand to anything from helping in weighing an aircraft (F-35 Lightning) or collecting funds received in the donation boxes situated throughout the museum. Recently I’ve managed to sit in a Spitfire and Vulcan which in itself is great. At the same time this allowed me to meet with other volunteers who made the experience more enjoyable with their knowledge and passion of the aircraft.

How has working at the Museum helped you develop your skill set?

My background is in engineering. However, working here, with a career change in mind, I’ve found that my knowledge of how museums work has increased rapidly in a very short time. I have achieved this, with the help of the team, who listened to my future plans then set about providing relevant job activities to meet agreed objectives that continue to offer valuable insights on a day to day basis. I also attended a 3 day CRM (Customer Relationship Management) course that has assisted me with membership processing.

What would you say to someone who is considering volunteering?

If you’re looking for a way of potential entry into the Heritage or Museum Sector as a career change you will gain valuable all round experience. Also you will be able to build up your contact list, learn new skills and meet lots of interesting people on the way – all in an environment that continually inspires and is fun. Now is a great time to join with all the activities surrounding the build up to the Centenary in 2018.